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Maharaj: Presidential handbook? No such thing

Presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj

Presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj

Published Feb 19, 2013

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Cape Town - The secret presidential handbook – which was used to justify the use of state funds to transport Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe on a holiday getaway to the Seychelles – may not even exist.

Presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj insisted on Monday that he had no knowledge of such a document, saying that transportation of presidents and deputy presidents, to his knowledge, was governed by the SA Air Force manual.

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He was clarifying conflicting statements by him and Motlanthe’s spokesman, Thabo Masebe, concerning the transportation of the deputy president in an Air Force Falcon 900 to and from the Seychelles, at an estimated cost of R1 million, and the R83 000 charter of a private plane.

While Masebe said the flights fell within policy contained in the presidential manual, which was classified, Maharaj later said on radio there was no such document.

On Monday, he said: “All I’ve said is that I have not found any record of this manual. The only manual I’m aware of is the ministerial handbook. As far as I know the president’s and deputy president’s transportation is governed by the SA Air Force manual.”

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The conflicting statements prompted the DA to suggest that Masebe may have been “caught out in a lie” about the presidential manual’s existence.

DA spokesman on defence David Maynier promised to raise the matter with Motlanthe during the deputy president’s question time in Parliament, scheduled for March 6.

 

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